Kenji Studio, Natsuiro Kiseki's Hidari Make Santa Company Film
posted on by Egan Loo
Kenji Itoso, the unit director on the late Satoshi Kon's dormant Yume-Miru Kikai film, is planning and directing an anime film called Santa Company for release next winter. Naohiro Fukushima (Eden of the East, Eureka 7: Astral Ocean) is writing the script, and artist Hidari (Fractale, Natsuiro Kiseki) drew the original illustrations that provided the basis for the character designs. Itoso's own Kenji Studio (Kotonakare Hero Gingerman) is animating the film.
The three main creators already published a Santa Company children's novel that revealed the story premise this month. Noel is an 11-year-old girl who despises Christmas. She has lived with her father ever since her parents divorced three years ago, but her father ends up busy at work every Christmas and she cannot play with her friends from school.
On a lonely Christmas Eve, Noel takes her usual apartment complex elevator ride to her home, but when the doors open, she finds herself lost in a humongous factory — owned by Santa Claus. Santa Claus has gone corporate as Santa Company with the motto "Swiftly, surely, secretly." The outfit takes orders and delivers top-notch presents to children in the utmost secrecy. Noel meets some new friends, and together, they take off in a sled to deliver presents.
Itoso gained notice with "Coluboccoro," a short produced with Anime Innovation Tokyo that won the grand prize in the Creative Market Tokyo 2011 event. That led to Itoso receiving a go-ahead to make Santa Company.
The Embassy of Finland, the country popularly considered the home of Santa Claus, offered its endorsement of the film project on behalf the Finnish Prime Minister. The limited first edition of the novel comes with a "Santa Company employee card," and the ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery is offering a 10% discount to people who present the card in Japan.
Image © Kenji Studio